Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.I Said, I Will Go Up to the Palm-Tree (Palm Sunday)
Song of Solomon 7:8
It is worth while noticing how often expressions of faith, and hope, resolution, and penitence, begin with that—'I said'. We begin by saying—the doing is a very different matter. Our Lord's was doing first, and saying afterwards: 'the former treatise have I made of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach'.
I. 'I said, I will go up to the palm-tree.' None ever doubted that by this palm-tree is meant the Cross. It is as though the faithful soul had, at the first commencement of her true service of her Lord, looked on the Cross as the sign of all victory, the form of all glory, the crown of such innumerable: triumphs. But she forgot that it was something else besides all this—that the struggle preceded the victory, that the wilderness came before the Promised Land, that the Cross came first and then the palm.
This true and living palm, this Cross, with its precious fruits, is set before us, and we must go to it; go up to it, mind: for uphill work it is, as we all know, as, the more we have tried to draw near to it, the better we know. Like that palm, it flourishes) best in barren and dry lands where no water is: the heavier weights it has to bear, like the palm, it grows; the better.
II. 'I will take hold of the boughs thereof.' And how? Surely, in the first place, by clinging to them as the only firm hold in the evil day. We have all read of shipwrecked men, when washed by some enormous wave on the shore, how they have grasped at some rock or stump, and held on to it as for very life during the recoil of the wave So it is that, in the shipwreck of this world, we must cling on to the Cross: no one ever perished there yet: the thief was saved that grasped it in the very last hour: Judas would there have been saved if he had cast Himself at the foot, and had cried to Him that hung thereon, 'I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me'.
III. But why are we to apply this verse to ourselves, and think of our own poor sayings, when the very time would rather have us refer them to our Elder Brother, the voice of Whose Blood will so soon cry from the ground: 'I said, I will go up to the palm-tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof. And so He did twice. Once, when He took them up in His arms to carry them to the top of Calvary; lastly, when with a still firmer and more painful grasp, a grasp which nothing but death could loose, He took hold on them there. Had He let them go, He had let us go along with them; but seeing it is written, 'My Father which gave them Me is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand'; therefore, He still held them fast, not willing, even in the act of death, to be separated from them.
—J. M. Neale, Sermons on the Song of Songs, p. 291.
References.—VII. 8.—J. M. Neale, Sermons on the Song of Songs, p. 286; see also p. 301, and Sermons Preached in Sackville College Chapel, vol. i. p. 224. VII. 11-13.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. x. No. 605; vol. xviii. No. 1066. VII. 12, 13.—J. M. Neale, Sermons on the Song of Songs, p. 307.
Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor: thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies.
Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins.
Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.
Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple; the king is held in the galleries.
How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!
This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.
I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;
And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.
I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.
Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages.
Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.
The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.